WARNING- As a motorcycle club member, there is a legitimate risk of being arrested for Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon in the state of Texas solely because of membership or association with a motorcycle club, even if you posses a legitimate carry permit recognized by the state. The MPP believes that the risk is exponentially higher for members and associates of 1% motorcycle clubs.
ABC News in El Paso reported this last weekend that 5 members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club were arrested for Unlawful Carrying of a Weapon (click to read article), even though every one could legally possess a weapon, solely because of their membership or association with the motorcycle club. They were initially stopped by the El Paso PD Gang Unit for an alleged failure to properly signal. All 5 men are from New Mexico and were traveling to El Paso to attend a funeral for a deceased member. (NOTE: The MPP has confirmed that only 3 of the 5 were members of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club)
This is not a isolated event. In November 2015, the MPP reported that “the trend to confiscate handguns and revoke legally obtained permits from motorcycle club members in America is on the rise.
From Houston to Long Island, and now back to Texas, law enforcement is aggressively targeting the gun rights of those in motorcycle clubs.” (See Revoking Gun Rights from Motorcycle Clubs is on the Rise, November 12, 2015). That trend, particularly in Texas, shows no signs of slowing down.
This assault on fundamental 1st and 2nd Amendment rights is based on a Texas statute that makes it illegal for a gang member to carry a weapon. Many motorcycle clubs are labeled gangs by law enforcement, so the implications are vast and impact thousands of US citizens.
According to the Texas Penal Code Sec. 46.02, UNLAWFUL CARRYING WEAPONS. A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about his or her person a handgun, illegal knife, or club if the person is a member of a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01. “Criminal street gang” means three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities.
This statute is diametrically opposed to fundamental 1st Amendment liberties. To permit the government to impose restrictions on any person “who wears the insignia of [a motorcycle club], without regard to or knowledge of that individual’s specific intent to engage in the alleged violent activities committed by other members, is antithetical to the basic principles enshrined in the First Amendment and repugnant to the fundamental doctrine of personal guilt that is a hallmark of American jurisprudence.” see Coles v. Carlini 162 F.Supp.3d 380 (2015)
Every American should pay attention and be extremely concerned. “In a very real way, the fate of motorcyclists will serve as a blue print for other groups in the future. Disarming bikers, even those associated that have no criminal records of any kind, is a strategy to cripple the rights base of one of the most visible and active grassroots social and political movements in America.
Much of the movement’s efforts are to combat civil liberty abuses by law enforcement targeting motorcyclists. If bikers are successfully marginalized as criminals not worthy of baseline liberties, then the strength of our political movement exposing law enforcement abuses will be crippled as well. It’s a blueprint for social control in the 21st Century.” (See It’s illegal for Motorcycle Club Members to Own Guns? That’s What Authorities Say., August 25, 2015)
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